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A woman holding the back of her neck

There are about 200 different musculoskeletal conditions. Arthritis is a term used by doctors to describe inflammation within a joint, while rheumatism is a more general term that's used to describe aches and pains in or around the joints. Because there are many possible causes of these pains doctors don't often use the term rheumatism and will usually refer to these problems either by a specific diagnosis or according to the part of the body affected. Doctors sometimes use the term 'musculoskeletal conditions' or 'the rheumatic diseases' to refer to a whole range of conditions that affect the joints. 

Browse by letter for your condition


  • Raynauds phenomenon

    Raynaud's phenomenon

    Raynaud’s phenomenon causes your hands and feet to change colour and become painful when exposed to cold or stressful conditions. We explain more about the symptoms, causes and treatments available.

  • Reactive arthritis

    Reactive arthritis

    Reactive arthritis can develop following an infection of the bowel or genital tract, causing painful, swollen joints. We explain the causes, diagnosis and treatments.

  • A woman holding her hand in front of her

    Rheumatoid arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form of arthritis in the UK. It causes inflammation, pain and swelling in the joints. We explain more about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.

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Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.